Stefano Santucci is the name of the studio in Florence where the duo of wedding photographers, Stefano and Lucrezia, works. The studio’s founder, Stefano, has been shooting weddings in different parts of the world for almost ten years — and takes incredibly touching, subtle and sincere pictures. But beyond Stefano's obvious professionalism and unique artistic vision, he has something else in his toolbelt. This is a particularly reverent attitude towards weddings, couples and their feelings, and a subtle sense of the world, people and their emotions. He told TOP15WEDDING all about his attitude and his work.
— All your photos have a unique style. How can you define it?
— In my opinion style comes from our past. The keyword that you mentioned, ‘unique’, is fundamental because it means ‘unrepeatable‘. I’ve always been sure that everything around me has contributed to refining my style. Thanks to the unique combination of elements from my past, like my introversions, my sensibility, my humanistic studies, my sense of freedom, my passion for the British stylistic world and to old objects found in antique markets, to old books, to 60s and 70s music. This is how my story was created. I’ve always been fascinated by the second-hand world, and I’ve always been attracted to people’s stories, and to the unconventional. Everyone can teach you a lot about life. I attempt to incorporate all these elements in my pictures. And photographs can have layers and layers of meanings.
A definition of my style? I like minorities — I identify with them. I like silence, things that last, I like to give weight to my words and choose them carefully. I don’t like to be clearly defined; I don’t like to label my religion, the way I eat, the color of my skin, the way I think. I like to be out of groups, unique like many - billions - of others. Style derives from all these things combined.
— How did you start shooting weddings?
— I started in 2011, in Tuscany. Photography has always been a form of therapy for me. I was a street photographer, spending my days walking through my city, Florence. At that time, I ended different personal projects photographing people (this matter scared me the most and I had to force myself to shoot them). Like many of my colleagues, one day a friend asked me to photograph his wedding. I refused, but we agreed that I would be like the second wedding photographer. Truth to be told, I did a terrible job that day!
— What is a wedding for you?
— Weddings for me today are still joyful moments, you can frame the lives of these people, you can understand the true essence of these human beings, recognize their emotions, share them, give them memories through your own eyes. Sometimes carrying their fears helps them to feel close to you, and you can be there for them.
— Do you have any goals in your photography or you just enjoy doing the work that you love?
— No, I don’t like goals. I don't care about fame, I don’t base my self-esteem on prizes. I don’t care at all. Everything we do, one day, will be forgotten. It’s a powerful truth.
— Do you have favorite photographers who inspire you?
— I stopped looking at the work of other photographers a long time ago because I didn’t want to be conditioned. I like people with courage, people that do things with care and sensibility, gentle souls. Maybe they even do not know to be ‘photographers’. But they are, and they are very good ones. Photography is not just taking pictures, it’s a way of life.
— You wrote in your instagram bio that you were born in the wrong era. What does that mean? In which era did you want to be born?
—I wrote that because I’m always not happy with the place - or the time - I am in: I badly and constantly feel a lack of gentleness, elegance, and patience. I see too many people who want to get there first, prove their superiority and who lack passion. Many of these seek shortcuts and don't want to work hard. I forced myself to remember a time where people were more gentle to each other, apparently not anymore. For some people, this may seem to be a definition of romantic.
— You and Lucrezia have seen so many weddings. Do you get emotional seeing people get married or do you get used to it? For you, what is the most emotional moment of a wedding?
— We have worked together in the Studio since 2014. Every story, person, or couple is different. We deeply feel emotions at every single wedding. And this is one of the best parts of the job. Personally, I like getting ready the most, you can have nice conversations, where the couple's minds are in an alternative universe created by orderly chaos and memories. They seem to be more close to themselves, and focused. I also like the dancing part, the moment where the control steps away and the beauty of our nature explodes in happy physical moments.
— You shoot not only weddings, but also engagements. Could you please tell our readers what is exactly an engagement shoot?
— Sometimes couples ask us to take a photoshoot, it has happened before that during this moment one of them proposes, or reveals big news. We do not like to fake these moments and we organize the place to do this, without interrupting anything like we always do. We have a special keyword with the people involved. When we get to the lovely spot, I say it to let the couple know it's a good place to propose, knee or do something else they wanted a long time ago. And we just catch what happens.
Basically it is a walk together. We love walks. We usually suggest organizing these photoshoots in the early morning because there are no tourists and the city has a wonderful light. We can’t set a specific tour because everything depends on light, so what I will do is to get lost and picture the atmosphere. We are very easy people to work with. We will definitely ask them to tell us what is important and what to pay attention to (of course!) and we’ll be guided by that.
— How do you work with a bride and groom before and during a wedding photoshoot?
— Having couples from all over the word, we have many contacts, we do like to write to them, or talk with them via skype, if necessary. At least for me. Words are my favorite tool of communication, I do agree with Skype sessions but I find them very empty and sterile. With an email you can focus better and be more detailed. I love to be neat and precise. We often share a glass of wine or tea the day before the event and we introduce ourselves. How many beautiful conversations we have! In our photography there is a very powerful element of improvisation. We do not fake moments, so we catch what happened with our vision in a candid way. We know what it is important to frame, but we do not have a classical or traditional viewpoint. Our couples agree to that and leave all the artistic control to us, and we will never ask them to pose, but if needed we will ask them to take a moment alone with us to try to relax a bit and remember a particular moment that made a huge difference in their lives.
— You have a print lab and you print wedding albums and books. Do you feel the difference between printed photos and those which stay on your computer, and what is this difference?
— Yes, it is a tremendous difference. We always encourage our couples to touch their images with their hand, stroking the paper and looking at the final colours of the prints. We have a very small print lab we are very proud of and we are used to printing our images ourselves. We also have a few very good providers for wedding albums or books.
— From your point of view, what makes a wedding shot beautiful?
— The relationship that is created between the parties involved. Confidence, abandonment, trust, sympathy, humor, lightheartedness. These are all parts of a small moment, cautious and non-intrusive observers of an instant.